Looking for ways to improve creativity?
No matter what kind of writer or content creator you are, you need a constant flow of fresh ideas. But sometimes the ideas stop. Your mind is a desert. You haven’t had a fresh thought in months. If you’ve lived a creative life whether for business or pleasure, you’ve likely experienced a season of creative bankruptcy.
When our family went through a life-changing tragedy, there was no way I could’ve strung two sentences together, much less nurtured a story idea or finished a novel. Fortunately, I didn’t have to, but not everyone has the choice.
Either it’s your job to be creative and you must fulfill a deadline or commission, or you simply recognize the inherent benefits of being creative such as stress reduction and a sense of well-being. Some people have the ability to plow through and seemingly have the gift of big ideas no matter what season of life they’re in, but others of us have to overcome creativity killers and find ways to improve creativity if for no other reason than to restore our internal balance.
Creativity killers are abundant:
- Life tragedy: expected or unexpected, tragedy depletes physical, emotional and spiritual resources.
- Stagnation: what some people call a rut, I call a routine. Either way, it can lead to hamster-on-a-wheel syndrome.
- Basic needs not being met: physical, emotional and spiritual needs matter, and when they aren’t being met it’s hard to focus on anything else.
Sometimes recharging your creative battery is as simple as identifying and vanquishing the creativity killers, but other times it takes a little more nourishing to unleash your creativity. Before I launch into my 5 best ideas to jumpstart your creativity, I need to make a recommendation:
5 ways to improve creativity:
1. Take care of yourself
If you’re feeling poorly due to lack of sleep, exercise and proper nutrition, you’ll have a difficult time coming up with big ideas. If you’re experiencing fatigue and have a foggy brain, you might come up with ideas, but they probably won’t be your best ones. Your body and mind both need to function at their optimal levels to generate your best work.
2. Mindless exercise
This ties in with #1, but it’s so important it gets a category of its own. Not only will you feel better, but the increased oxygen to your brain and the release of endorphins will help you process information and make connections you might not otherwise make. I say “mindless” because it allows your brain to work on ideas rather than trying to follow the steps in dance class, which in my case would lead to a catastrophe.
I generally listen to podcasts or watch videos like Ted Talks which (for me) stimulate a lot of out-of-the box thinking and motivation. Some people go so far as to keep a notebook with them to record ideas, but again, I’m not that coordinated. Find what works for you!
3. Try a different outlet
If you’re a writer, try experimenting with music. If you’re a dancer, try photography or painting. Recently I tried drawing, using my kids’ stuffed animals and dolls as models. My art is silly and crude, but the point is not to be good. The point is to let your brain make new connections and stimulate fresh ideas.
4. Experience life
When you’re a creative person, everything is material! Trying new things can be as simple and safe as going to a new coffee shop or learning a new language, taking a road trip or going to an art walk. But if you’re slightly more daring you can try snowboarding, teaching a class at the local youth center or even skydiving. The world is full of possibilities—take advantage!
5. Hang out with creative people
You become like the company you keep. Have you ever had that friend that has boundless energy and is full of ideas? There are people with creativity and possibility oozing out of their pores, and it’s fun to absorb even a fraction of their life. Everyone needs a few brainstorm buddies and idea people to generate more inspiration.
Whether you’re trying to overcome life events and get the juices flowing again, or you’re looking to experience the excitement that comes from fresh ideas, try the suggestions and see what happens. I’d love to hear your experience!
Have you found ways to improve creativity?